July 14, 2024

Pastor Joel Osteen breaks down in tears as he tells congregation $100m loan to convert NBA stadium into Texas megachurch has been paid off after just 19 years: ‘It’s because of your faithfulness’

Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen has paid off a $100 million loan for renovations at  his church in just 19 years with donations thanks to his congregation’s ‘faithfulness’.

Osteen burst into tears as he ripped up the loan agreement on Sunday during a service at the 17,000 seat NBA stadium turned church in Houston, Texas.

He has led the non-denominational Lakewood Church, popular with celebrities including Kanye West, for over 20 years and has grown the congregation to over 50,000 people, with some 200 million viewers tuning in online each week.

The pastor – who is estimated to have a personal net worth of over $40 million – has provoked controversy in the past for taking a $4.4 million government Covid loan and initially refusing to let victims of Hurricane Harvey shelter in his church.
He has also been criticized for his extravagant lifestyle and palatial home, which was recently valued at $14 million, but he defends his wealth, once saying: ‘We just feel like this is God’s blessings.’

Osteen, 60, took over the Houston Rockets’ arena in 2005, signing a 60-year lease for $11.5 million. In his sermon on January 14, he said: ‘Daddy left us that kind of money so we just signed that lease.’

It was ‘quite the ordeal’ to get the building and they were quoted $100 million to renovate it from an arena into a church.

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